Ask a Question forum: Pot too big for me!

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Dec 17, 2017 11:58 PM CST
Hi all,

I have a beautiful potted pothos that I have repotted so many times that the pot is now bigger than I care to handle, and it is in need of repotting yet again. I intend to take cuttings to create several "new" plants from it, but I'm wondering if there is some way that I can divide the original plant so that I can replant it into smaller pots without killing it? I would hate to have to throw it out but it will die if I don't pot it up or repot it.

This is what it looked like last year--it's larger now.

Thumb of 2017-12-18/joannakat/ea8e67

AKA Joey.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Dec 18, 2017 12:36 AM CST
I think you are going overboard on the bigger pot thing. Stop repotting, it will do fine in a smaller pot. The pot only needs to be big enough to hold up the plant.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Dec 18, 2017 12:46 AM CST
Oh, thank god you didn't ask me how to kill it, lol. Keeping it alive is easy- cut through with a knife. Yes. Just toss the root ball ontp a piece of newspaper and hack it up into pieces- if smaller pots are your goal. If you will keep this pot and want to make new ones- cut the long stems from the mother, then cut the long piece into sections of 4-5 leaves, take off the bottom 1-2 leaves, leaving the top 1-2, put them in a glass of water for 2-3 weeks until roots grow, then pot.... viola!

These guys are really SO hard core, don't be afraid.
The bad news is they don't branch- which is why you have a 20 ft stem- hack em up! they tolerate cutting beautifully and half the time I don't even bother to root them- I just shove the piece I cut back into the dirt and half of those root to make a fuller potting-
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Dec 18, 2017 8:12 AM CST
DaisyI said:I think you are going overboard on the bigger pot thing. Stop repotting, it will do fine in a smaller pot. The pot only needs to be big enough to hold up the plant.


Thanks Daisy, if you want to come over here and move the pot when I clean, you'd be more than welcome. Lovey dubby
AKA Joey.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Dec 18, 2017 8:16 AM CST
Turbosaurus said:Oh, thank god you didn't ask me how to kill it, lol. Keeping it alive is easy- cut through with a knife. Yes. Just toss the root ball ontp a piece of newspaper and hack it up into pieces- if smaller pots are your goal. If you will keep this pot and want to make new ones- cut the long stems from the mother, then cut the long piece into sections of 4-5 leaves, take off the bottom 1-2 leaves, leaving the top 1-2, put them in a glass of water for 2-3 weeks until roots grow, then pot.... viola!

These guys are really SO hard core, don't be afraid.
The bad news is they don't branch- which is why you have a 20 ft stem- hack em up! they tolerate cutting beautifully and half the time I don't even bother to root them- I just shove the piece I cut back into the dirt and half of those root to make a fuller potting-


Thanks Paula. I've got the cutting/rooting thing down but not the chopping of roots. The thing is so rootbound that there's no way I can create a small hole to shove a cutting in, but if I can cut it into smaller rootball sections and repot those, then this will be more than workable.

So you're saying that I can just cut the darn thing in 1/2 and it'll live? That is tenacious!

AKA Joey.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 18, 2017 8:14 PM CST
I agree with Daisy. It seems to me the cleaning problem is not the size of the pot, but the length of the vines. They can be pruned way back without harm to the plant or need to repot.

If you still want to divide it, you can do so by taking it out of its pot and using a long sturdy knife to slice straight down through the rootball dividing it into halves or quarters. Try to make sharp, clean cuts that keep the roots intact. Don't try pulling the roots apart. It is best done when the soil is quite damp.

I highly recommend that you prune it back substantially before you divide the root system.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Dec 18, 2017 8:25 PM CST
WillC said:I agree with Daisy. It seems to me the cleaning problem is not the size of the pot, but the length of the vines. They can be pruned way back without harm to the plant or need to repot.

If you still want to divide it, you can do so by taking it out of its pot and using a long sturdy knife to slice straight down through the rootball dividing it into halves or quarters. Try to make sharp, clean cuts that keep the roots intact. Don't try pulling the roots apart. It is best done when the soil is quite damp.

I highly recommend that you prune it back substantially before you divide the root system.


Thanks Will! Excellent advice and appreciated even though you seem to have misunderstood the cleaning thing. I have no problem with the length of the vines. They're easily dealt with. It's lifting and moving the pot that's a problem. Have arm and shoulder issues and it's just too heavy for me. Hope this clarifies.
AKA Joey.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 19, 2017 11:42 AM CST
Thanks for the clarification, Joanna. Would moving the plant into a plastic pot that is the same size make enough of a difference in weight for you? Just a thought.

Otherwise, cut it straight through into sections that are more manageable in size for you.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Dec 19, 2017 11:53 AM CST
WillC said:Thanks for the clarification, Joanna. Would moving the plant into a plastic pot that is the same size make enough of a difference in weight for you? Just a thought.

Otherwise, cut it straight through into sections that are more manageable in size for you.


Thanks Will. It is in a plastic pot. Love those terra cotta colors!
AKA Joey.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Dec 19, 2017 12:11 PM CST
My point was that you shouldn't allow your plant to get so big that it becomes unmanageable. Stop potting up.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Dec 19, 2017 12:21 PM CST
DaisyI said:My point was that you shouldn't allow your plant to get so big that it becomes unmanageable. Stop potting up.


Yeah, that's not going to happen, especially since there's a pleasurable way to deal with it as explained by Will. Thanks Will! And Paula! Thanks Paula!

I'll probably wait until spring, and then create about 20 new plants from this one. I'll use many of them as gifts which is always fun.

And with the extra space in the new, smaller pots, I'll be able to do this when the flowers are blooming! Right now the roots are so dense that you can't stick anything in there.

The thread "Adding flowers to potted plants" in Gardening Ideas forum

Thanks again to everyone for all the help, and wish me luck for the spring! This'll be the first time I'll be attempting anything like this. It's a bit scary! Crossing Fingers!

Thank You!
AKA Joey.
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Dec 20, 2017 7:09 PM CST
Don't be afraid! Its bomb proof. I would never take the responsibility of potentially harming someone's long lived plant-pet if there was even the slightest chance my advice would kill it.

Cutting straight through it with a sharp knife will actually cause less damage than trying to tease the roots apart. They'll all be grown together- you want a clean surgery, not tearing every joint of of its socket.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Dec 20, 2017 7:12 PM CST
Turbosaurus said:Don't be afraid! Its bomb proof. I would never take the responsibility of potentially harming someone's long lived plant-pet if there was even the slightest chance my advice would kill it.

Cutting straight through it with a sharp knife will actually cause less damage than trying to tease the roots apart. They'll all be grown together- you want a clean surgery, not tearing every joint of of its socket.


Many thanks Paula, I'll do it come spring!
AKA Joey.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Dec 20, 2017 7:46 PM CST
Meanwhile they make little plant stands with wheels...
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Dec 20, 2017 7:48 PM CST
Or... you could take the winter off from vacuuming... Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Dec 20, 2017 7:54 PM CST
I like that idea!
Porkpal
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Dec 20, 2017 7:56 PM CST
Pork and Daisy, thanks, but I'm happy with it where it is and I think I already have the answer I was looking for.

Have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it, and a great new year.
AKA Joey.

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